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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Unearth Avant-Garde Art in Old-World Rome


5. Oddball Day

Seward Johnson’s 100-foot statue at the Piazza del Guglielmo Marconi is hard to miss.  

Step into the antithesis of postcard Rome at the Esposizione Universale Roma (or EUR, pronounced Ay-oor), a 420-acre complex spearheaded by Mussolini in 1935 to flaunt the glories of Fascist Italy. Take the Metro B to the EUR Magliana stop and begin at the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana, where you’ll find the most commanding of the ten monumental buildings. Dubbed the “Square Colosseum,” the structure is a masterpiece of totalitarian architecture, with hundreds of identical arched loggias lining its façade. From there, stop into the nearby Palombini all'Eur, a coffee shop and bakery, and stock up on pastries and wine. At the landscaped park surrounding EUR Lake, rent a paddleboat or picnic on the bank. Afterwards, stroll down the boulevard of Via Cristoforo Colombo until you reach Piazza del Guglielmo Marconi. There, you’ll find Seward Johnson’s remarkable sculpture The Awakening: a 100-foot silver giant struggling to emerge from the ground. Continue on the boulevard to the dramatic Palazzo dei Congressi, a modern-day white-marble conference center inspired by the Pantheon. Select from four $10 pasta dishes at Futurarte Café, a colorful, chandelier-strewn restaurant with walls dedicated to Italian futurism.

Published on Apr 1, 2010 as a web exclusive.

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